Wednesday, October 1, 2014

King and Kong

  This couple (pictured on left) live between my place and my hay-supply.  I noticed a team of Belgians while driving past and stopped in to chat.  He told me that he bought this pair, King and Kong, but had never hitched a team before.  I gave him my cell-phone number and told him to call me if he wanted my help when he got ready to hitch them.  I got that call a few days back and this is a blog about our adventure.
Barney is a horseman, but he is usually riding cutting horses, not driving a team of Belgians.

We spent a considerable amount of time adjusting the harness Barney had bought at an auction.  It's a nice harness but we had to adjust almost every snap and buckle.  King and Kong were obviously experienced because they waited patiently for us to figure it all out.  I told my friend, Barney, "These horses know what it means to get hitched up, but they're probably doubting that we know what we're doing."

When we finally decided the harness was fitting pretty good, we led them over to my stone-boat, a wooden sled that has enough drag they wouldn't run far, if they did take off.  We didn't know what to expect, except that his horses seemed really comfortable.  Everything went great and we concluded that the Amish guy that broke this team did a great job.

I drove them through this cattle pasture for a bit, enjoying myself thoroughly.  The herd of cows and calves watched us curiously. We came out into a clearing, beyond the timber and I handed the lines over to Barney.  He took over with a grin and I could tell that he's caught the draft-horse-bug!  I told him that he probably won't want to ride anymore, now that he sees how much fun it is to drive a team.

Yes, it does look like we may need to tweak our harness fit just a little more.
It was a really warm fall day, perfect for hitching up a team that hasn't had harness on in a while.  We stopped the horses in some shade and let them cool down a bit before heading back.  We wanted this outing to be fun for the horses, so they wouldn't dread getting hitched.
Barney has a lot of horse sense and I think he will make out just fine with King and Kong.  They are geldings about 7 years old, with great dispositions and apparently a fine handler got them started.
Barney, King, Kong and I enjoyed some great views! Of course, every view is better with a team of horses in it.

In this picture you can see my old, rickety, stone-boat. I made it about 20 years ago and hitched a lot of horses to it over those two decades.
It's a perfect tool for teaching horses and drivers, easy to get on and off. (that can be really important if there would happen to be trouble)
That's me, King and Kong
I was pretty relaxed after everything was over and it all turned out fine.

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